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Using Essential Oils With Yoga

By Jo Hunt
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Essential Oils and Yoga

If you were to walk into almost any yoga studio these days you are likely to notice that the incense has been replaced by a far lighter olfactory experience: essential oils. Some yoga teachers diffuse essential oils during class to enhance the uplifting experience for their students. Others anoint students with oil-infused hands. Some studios offer spray bottles filled with essential oil blends for students to wipe down sweaty mats at the end of class to possibly add a drop of peppermint to the corners for energy and focus.

Whether they’re using Lavender, Wild Orange, Patchouli, Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Lemon or Bergamot, these days yoga teachers are increasingly integrating essential oils into the yoga experience. And with good reason: These aromatic compounds—found in plant seeds, bark, stems, roots, and flowers—have long been a favourite with the oils’ ability to enhance mental and emotional wellness, relieve sore muscles, and support physical and spiritual well-being.

Essential oils are increasingly being integrated into the holistic management and treatment of diseases for a wide range of illnesses including cancer, respiratory conditions, asthma, migraines and heart disease. They are also commonly used to boost immunity, help manage weight and diet, and treat the symptoms of menopause.

If you haven’t been introduced to essential oils, consider integrating them into your yoga practice. Testing their powers on the mat is a good way to gauge what works for you and what doesn’t. But be prepared: Everyone reacts differently to essential oils. One person’s go-to oil to relieve stress or headaches could be totally different for someone else. For example, most people find that lavender promotes restful sleep; but others can find the scent agitating, which leads to restlessness and insomnia.

Essential oils are potent (and rare), hence their relative high cost. But a drop or two usually go a long way. Though essential oils are commonly sold in many high street stores and new-age boutiques, beware: Only high-quality therapeutic-grade oils—containing no artificial ingredients or chemical residues—should be used topically or ingested.

Three easy ways to use essential oils in your yoga practice:

Diffusing: This is a great way to use the oils in the studio and even at home to uplift or even calm the atmosphere.

Purifying: From Lavender to Wild Orange, and Peppermint to On Guard, essential oils can be used to cleanse and purify your yoga space, yoga mat, and surrounding areas.

Anointing: Touch is healing and powerful, and even more so when enhanced with essential oils. Using the right oil at the beginning of class can infuse energy into your class.

There are many single essential oils and even blends. Introduce oils slowly to your practice, giving yourself the time to become aware of their properties and power, and learn how you (and those around you) react to them.

Some oils to consider trying:

  • For grounding: Balance, Patchouli and Cedarwood.
  • For strengthening and centering: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Myrrh and Frankincense.
  • To promote breath awareness and clear breathing: Breathe, Peppermint, Basil, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Frankincense, and Cardamom.
  • For calming: Lavender, Geranium, Chamomile and Vetiver.
  • For spiritual nourishment: Bergamot, Lemon and Orange,
  • To uplift: Cassia, Clary Sage, Lemon, Lime and White Fir.
  • To purify and cleanse: Arborvitae, Purify, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass and Wild Orange.
  • To soothe sore muscles: Basil, Cypress, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Wintergreen, Marjoram and Deep Blue.

We have recently launched a new trio yoga collection of oils:

Essential Oils for Yoga

Here is a great u tube video

ANCHOR, ALIGN and ARISE for your practice, your teaching, your sharing, and your daily living. Crafted with care, patience and clarity of intention, these blends will serve you, your work and your living for many moons to come. Each blend is diluted with Fractionated Coconut Oil, so you may use confidently and safely.

ANCHOR grounds, attunes and refines your capacity to listen and steady yourself. Great to start a practice, on hands, pulse points, inner arms, feet (if you’ll be sitting for a few minutes, until it is absorbed). Try this with Seated Meditation, Seated Twists, and Bhu Mudra (one hand to heart, other hand fingertips to the Earth).

  • Lavender: calming, communication
  • Cedarwood: grounding, community
  • Frankincense: healthy neurological function, valuing truth
  • Cinnamon Bark: feelings of harmony and acceptance of self
  • Sandalwood: devotion, reverence, respect, release from overthinking
  • Black Pepper: emotional honesty, courage, self-awarenesss
  • Patchouli: physical presence, release of self-judgment, grounding

ALIGN centers, opens and enhances your capacity to come back to the heart of the matter. Perfect to use mid-practice, perhaps as you or your students are taking a seat to absorb what they’ve accomplished thus far. Lovely for postures like Warrior III, Triangle

  • Bergamot: self-acceptance, self-esteem, optimism
  • Coriander: integrity, bravery, true to self
  • Marjoram: connection, trust, openness, safety
  • Peppermint: emotional buoyancy, invigorating, uplifting
  • Geranium: love & trust, forgiveness, overcoming grief, emotional honesty
  • Basil: renewal, energy, brings strength to the heart, softening to the mind
  • Rose: higher love, compassion, wholeness
  • Jasmine: passion, healthy intimacy, safety

ARISE enlightens, brightens, and uplifts. For your heart, your third eye (as long as you’re not going to the sunlight soon after your practice, as it contains citrus which are sun-sensitive), top of your head. I love a few drops on my forearms just before sun salutes or standing side stretch. Also perfect for diffusing and for your diffusing jewellery.

  • Lemon: uplifting and clarifying, joyful
  • Grapefruit: honouring the body, energizing
  • Siberian Fir: supports clearing generational patterns
  • Osmanthus: eases feelings of sadness
  • Melissa: enlightenment, joy of living, eases feelings of overwhelm

Essential Oils for Yoga BookThere is also a book I would like to share with you called The Essential yoga Program: Creating Monthly Workshops Introducing doTERRA Essential Oils available from amazon.

Remember, everyone reacts differently to all fragrances, so whether your a yoga teacher or student, be mindful and respectful of those around you when using essential oils. Some studios ask students to refrain from using perfumes or oils before attending yoga class.